PERTH, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 23: Ashleigh Gardner of Australia poses before an Australian Women's T20 Training Session at Murdoch University on February 23, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 23: Ashleigh Gardner of Australia poses before an Australian Women's T20 Training Session at Murdoch University on February 23, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Gardner: ‘This is the biggest day of my life’

It is no exaggeration to say that the T20 World Cup final, is the biggest sporting moment of my life; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only play in a world cup final at home, but to do so in front of what will hopefully be a record crowd for a women's sport event.

This tournament has always been more than just about cricket for us: in fighting back from that opening loss to India and overcoming our heartbreak at seeing Ellyse Perry go down with a hamstring injury, and miraculously winning the semi-final against South Africa despite all the rain on Thursday, we knew this was about creating a legacy that will inspire the next generation - whether they're boys or girls - to chase their sporting dreams.

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Ash Gardner is hugely proud of Australia’s achievement and opportunity. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Ash Gardner is hugely proud of Australia’s achievement and opportunity. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

 

So when I walk out onto the MCG in front of my family and friends, it's going to be one of the biggest moments, if not the biggest moment, I'm ever going to have in my career.

I'm so excited by that.

I know there will be a lot of nerves, not only for myself, but for the whole team and it will probably give me goosebumps while walking out to the middle, but I'm looking forward to it.

I'm also looking forward to it as an Aboriginal woman, who is fortunate to not only represent my country but also my culture every time I walk out to bat.

I'm proud knowing that I'm not just representing myself, but also all the other Aboriginal people who have never been given the opportunity to play sport the way I have, and those who haven't had the access to reach the highest level.

This isn't just for me, I'm doing it for them as well.

 

Gardner will carry her family and culture with her. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Gardner will carry her family and culture with her. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

 

 

I am the only female Aboriginal player to play in a world cup so far and that's a big thing for me as it is for my family too, and they'll be sitting in the stands at the MCG for the game watching on, probably even more nervous than I will be.

I want to do them proud as a way to repay them for all that they've done for me throughout the early stages of my cricket career, taking me to the junior games and all the trainings sessions.

A win today will not just be for my team, but for my family as well.

Our team's journey to this final has not been easy and it's been a massive tournament for our group, both on and off the field.

We've travelled from Sydney, to Perth and Canberra and back again, we've had very little down time as well as our fair share of injuries.

But we go into today's final against India confidently, knowing that we've managed to get better and better with each game and hopefully we can go out there today and play the perfect match. We're ready for it.



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